The FBI are suspecting that a pipeline system in New Mexico is being used to bypass paying royalty money into the Interior Department's trust fund for the Indians. In fact, the embezzling has been going on for a long time - to the tune of billions of dollars. They send a 'spy' to investigate. When this well-dressed man, stripped of identification, is found dead, the FBI tells Jim Chee, a sergeant with the Navajo Tribal Police, that it's a hunting accident.
He finds this very puzzling. He becomes more suspicious himself of the pipelines and pumping stations in the gas field.
Meanwhile, Bernie, the love of his life, has left the Tribal Police to join the Customs Patrol. Jim Chee misses her. He suspects she left her job on his squad because of him - scared of getting too close? Bernie tackles her new job with the same competence she showed with the Tribal Police. She notices an exotic game ranch near the Mexican border and takes photographs. When her boss finds out she was there, he gets agitated, orders her not to go there, and takes her photos. Plus he wants a photograph of her. When Bernie later finds out her photo is being distributed among drug dealers, she gets suspicious - of her boss, and of several other people.
Soon she is in terrible danger; someone wants her dead. Jim Chee and his former lieutenant, Joe Leaphorn, do some more investigating, and start putting pieces together. A powerful Washington businessman orders his pilot to kill Bernie. He is actually using the pipeline for a massive illegal drug business.
A Mexican smuggler working for him and Winsor's pilot realize that killing Bernie is not necessarily going to help them in any way. They tip her off and, in an ensuing struggle, Winsor is the one who gets shot. Jim Chee finds Bernie and takes her home.
This report prepared by Tena van't Foort
The Sinister Pig
Harper Torch, 2003, 318 PP
The Department of the Interior is unable to account for forty or more billion dollars worth of royalties that should have been paid to the Native American tribes from whose lands oil, gas and coal have been extracted. This is but one of many Washington scandals that keeps accountants, lawyers and Congressmen busy but, with no resolution in sight, is not a burning issue to the members of the tribes in northern New Mexico and Arizona who should have been the recipients of these royalties.
But when the murdered body of an unidentified, middle aged white male is found in a remote area of the Navajo reservation near the Jicarilla Apache natural gas field, Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police suspects there might be a connection. His suspicion that the murder is connected to something very big and sensitive is confirmed when FBI headquarters in Washington takes charge of the case and refuses to involve any local law enforcement including its own resident agent in northern New Mexico.
But Sergeant Chee continues to investigate the murder along with his former boss and friend, retired Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, who becomes involved when a reporter from U.S. News contacts him to discuss a possible connection between the murder and the missing royalty funds. Meanwhile in the southern part of New Mexico, Border Patrol Officer Bernadette Manuelito, a former Navajo Tribal Police officer and girlfriend of Sergeant Chee, has uncovered some suspicious activities in the desert near the Mexican border which may be related to the murder and missing royalty funds.
Crime and high level official corruption, along with competition and turf battles among the numerous competing law enforcement agencies – FBI, DEA, U.S. Customs, Homeland Security, BLM enforcement division, Navajo Tribal Police, New Mexico State Police and local county sheriff – provide non-stop action up to the surprising conclusion.
This report prepared by Chuck Nugent